210 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8DP

Hairspray Poster
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Closed March 28, 2010

You will laugh, you will scream, you might even shed a sentimental tear or two.

Charles Spencer, The Telegraph

Why See Hairspray?


Based on the1988 cult film by John Waters, Hairspray is a multi-award winning musical about accepting physical difference and the right to racial integration. With big, bold and colourful costumes and set, and sensational choreography by Jerry Mitchell, the smash-hit musical comedy combines top-notch entertainment with gentle mockery of 1960s white liberalism's naivety and the injustices in parts of American society. Directed by Jack O'Brien, Hairspray is lively, uplifting, generous of spirit and full of fun.


It's the early Sixties. Tracy Turnblad, a chubby 16-year old from Baltimore, dream of dancing. She and her friend Penny Pingleton are devotees to The Corny Collins Show, a studio-based TV dance show which pumps out the latest pop songs while sizzling young dancers pull their moves. Somehow Tracy succeeds in winning an audition to be on the show and is determined to beat the favoured contestant, claiming the title of Miss Hairspray 1962.

But Tracy's eyes are opened to the racial segregation and discrimination - the existence of Corny's monthly "Negro Day" only being one example - and the big-hearted, buxom lass with voluminous hair begins a campaign for integration, in her town and in her favourite TV show.


The musical's original version first opened on Broadway in 2002. In 2003 it was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, winning eight of them. It ran for six and a half years, with over 2500 performances. When it opened in London West End's Shaftesbury Theatre, it was nominated for a record-setting 11 Olivier Awards, winning four including Best New Musical in 2008. It played over 1000 performances and grossed over £50 million in the UK, and became the longest running show at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 40 years.

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Additional Information


Previews from: 11 October 2007

Opening night: 30 October 2007


Hairspray is recommended for children aged 8 and upwards. Children under 4 years of age will not be admitted into the Shaftesbury Theatre.

Run time

Two hours 30 minswith one 20 minute intermission.

Cast and Creative


Phil Jupitus as Edna Turnblad
Brian Conley as Edna Turnblad (Feb onwards)
Chloe Hart as Tracy Turnblad
Liam Tamne as Link Larkin
Belinda Carlisle as Velma Von Tussle
Tony Timberlake as Wilbur Turnblad (until Feb)
Micky Dolenz as Wilbur Turnblad (Feb 2nd onwards)
Rachael Wooding as Amber Von Tussle
Verity Rushworth as Penny Pingleton
Sharon D Clarke as Motormouth Maybelle
Philip Catchpole as IQ
Adrian Hansel as Seaweed J. Stubbs
Paul Manuel as Corny Collins


Book by Mark O'Donnell & Thomas Meehan
Music by Marc Shaiman
Lyrics by Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman
Directed by Jack O'Brien
Choreography by Jerry Mitchell
Scenic Design by David Rockwell
Costume Design by William Ivey Long
Lighting Design by Kenneth Posner
Sound Design by Steve C. Kennedy

What you thought

55 reviews, average rating: (4.8 Stars)

5.0 star rating

Anonymous: “what a show !”

Saw this show in New York and loved it. Wasn't sure about Michael Ball... more

Mrs Hemmings: “Excellent Show.”

I vistied the theatre with my daughter who is in a wheelchair and partially... more

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